Friday, October 11, 2013

The Writing Process: Critique Partners

Hello, my fellow bloggers!

So I've realized lately that I talk too much about health and not enough about my biggest passion: writing. It's my life, literally. Writing saved my life when I went through the worst times of my life, namely high school, and I believe I should talk about more writing more.


Now, it sounds easy to write a book, right? All you need is a computer, a word processor, and an idea. And bam, just write! Hell, I wish it was that easy.


I mean, hell, writing is easy. It takes a long time, but writing all your feelings out through a fictional world brings a type of satisfaction you can't find anywhere else. You find yourself immersed in a world you thought not possible, with characters that don't even exist, yet those characters are your life.


Your characters shouldn't really resemble you, and most of the time they don't resemble their authors. But deep down inside, us authors know our characters are based off us. It's true. Without our life experiences and emotions, we could've never created our characters. Although my main character Rusty is nothing like me. She's a tomboy for hell's sake! She does have some of my traits, such as stubborness and insecurity.


As for my main guy character, hell yes he is definitely a spawn of my boyfriend. How else could I create a love story? So many things separate them, but it's the idea that my boyfriend inspired me to create Vaan. It's such an interesting process the way these things work out.


Anyways, although I always digress, I want to get to the heart of this post. Critique Partners.


I have found myself two incredible critique partners, and they've taught me so much. Just when I think my story is complete, they allow me to learn that there's much more left to do. I learn my flaws. I learn my strengths. They help me develop this baby of mine. It started off like an infant, and with their help, I can see this baby growing up to being complete.


Honestly, it's the best part of the writing experience. Interacting with people who share the same passion helps me live my life better. I see my goals much easier with them, and I know with their help, we can all reach our dream.


Many writers don't see the necessity for critique partners. I know I didn't at one point. I mean, I did, but I didn't. I had one beta reader about two years ago. Bless her heart for helping out my horrible writing. She was my inspiration, and without her, my writing would've never developed the way it has. She taught me the difference between telling vs showing, and I'm very grateful for it.


I see many authors fail to grow as writers. I've tried to help writers on forums to understand their weakness's, and many of them close their ears and hum. They believe what other's say does not matter. And that will get a writer nowhere. Of course, I understand how they feel. It sucks to find out your writing isn't up to par as you believed. It's heartbreaking at first, but once you really look into those critiques, you learn so much about yourself and how your writing can grow. Even if you don't necessarily agree with what your critique partners suggest, those suggestions can help spark ideas that you would've never considered before. All of it helps in one way or another and turning your head in the other direction will only help you fail.


I wish aspiring authors could see this. I have had people on the brink of telling me off because I'm being "too harsh". I'm sorry, sweetie, but the writing business will treat you worse. They won't even give you reasons as to why they dislike your writing or why it doesn't work. At least I'm trying to help you. Hell, I could care less if you get published if you refuse to accept you're not perfect. You don't deserve to be published, in my opinion.


Honestly, no writer starts out perfect. Not one single published author could do it without the help of others. You may think your writing is perfect, but it's your writing, of course it makes sense to you! But what matters most is the readers. They're your buyers, for goodness sake. Just because you're pleasing yourself does not mean you will please them.

This is why critique partners are essential. They can help you discover all the itsy bitsty problems that you cannot see yourself. They help your book become a book. Without them, publishing your book will be close to impossible.

The only way around this if an agent loves the voice and premise so much that they are willing to work with you to fix everything up. But I can only imagine how rare that would be. If I were an agent, I'd want a writer to be smart enough to seek help from readers and not just myself only.

So tell me, what's your experience with critique partners been like?

3 comments:

  1. Very true, cp's are a must. And i's true that criticism can hurt, but I think you can say just about anything to someone if you say it the right way. I've had cp's give me advice that crushed me so that after reading it, I felt stuck and couldn't write anything for a few weeks. While other cp's have given me similar advice but worded it differently so that it their criticism actually inspired me to improve instead of crushing me. So, I guess finding the right kind of CP is important too. Anyways, very nice post & thanks for sharing this!

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    Replies
    1. That is very true, Paula. If you word something in a very harsh manner, it's going to place the writer in a bad spot and make them think they're not good enough. I don't believe I've ever done this although I am quite blunt, to an extent. I never point things out; I just give suggestions and one time, the writer blatantly told me my suggestions were stupid. Not a good way to respond to someone who only sees potential in the story. I honestly loved the idea, but the way the writer reacted turned me off. If I was harsh (I don't think I was; she just loathed my suggestions) I'd prefer someone to not get smart with me about it. Needless to say, I did not want to help that writer anymore; neither did quite a few other people. But what can you do?

      Thanks for reading!

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